Lost in Translation: 6 Culture Shocks You Might Encounter While Visiting Spain

Three years ago, I moved to Andalusia, Spain, after many years abroad. I am married to one of its citizens, and I have been coming here for 22 years, so it made perfect sense. However, new visitors may experience culture shock in my home country.

A recent online forum shares people’s perceptions of this proud nation; here are some useful tips for anyone hoping to visit or live here.

For the untrained ear, it can seem as though everyone here is angry about something; such is the boisterous nature of the Spanish language. I still need to calm myself down before responding to my wife sometimes, but it isn’t anything more than her ingrained Iberian passion bursting through the seams.

1. The Noise Level

“Coffee to go is just now becoming a thing but mostly does not exist,” shares the next thread leader. “They want you to sit down and enjoy.” For the average Spaniard, a drive-thru Starbucks would be heretical — coffee culture here means sitting down outside, enjoying your cafe con leche as your heartbeat rests — until the coffee hits, at least!

2. Coffee Is To Be Savored

“In the evenings, everyone was out of the house walking while the house cooled down,” claims a former resident who experienced how things in Spain get started after sundown. Embrace the shade and stay hydrated; you will be fine.

3. Air Conditioning? What Air Conditioning?

Once you can get past the loud people, you will uncover some of the kindest, most generous Europeans on the continent. For example, if someone invites you to lunch, they insist on paying the check.

4. Hospitality Knows No Bounds

I cannot get through a day without at least a short power nap. Some people believe this is because of the weather, but I put it down to lunchtime being the day’s biggest meal. “Siesta time is a real thing,” adds a visitor.

5. Embracing the Slumber

Although I often grumble about everything being closed on Sundays and mid-afternoon, I love that Spanish people value rest — other nations should do so. “Many shops and restaurants close in the early afternoon,” notes another poster.

6. Closing Time

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